As I round out hell week here at work, I have been reflecting on lessons learned, and the impact of fear upon actions in my own life. I was totally in a bad frame of mind about the impending social networking activity earlier in the week. It was raining when I left the office, after already putting in my regular work day, and making presentations to the client/vendor/executive group in addition. The presentation went smoothly, even though the VP moved me into his chair at the head of the table, lol! I was actually seated on the sidelines previously. I don’t normally care to be in the limelight. After that part was complete and the customer was happy, I returned to my cubicle and finished up my day. I work a later shift than others, due to the West Coast orientation of the client. My other two clients are international and East Coast. I confess, I was grumbling as I headed out the door sans umbrella, in response to a text from my boss to come hither to dinner.
It was a long drive in the rain – but to a very nice high-end restaurant, the likes of which I rarely frequent any more. That kind of thing is from my former life really, and doesn’t often appear in this current iteration. I listened to Brian Crain’s Piano Opus album on the way, hoping to reach my inner zen person. When I arrived, I was late and everyone was already well into cocktails and in a great non-work oriented mood. That brightened me considerably, plus the fact I was seated with my management team, whom I quite adore. I was seated between the Corporate Account rep and my Director, across from my former Director. They are all very outgoing people, so I caught a break in that I got to listen to funny stories, off-color jokes and a discussion on religion and politics (!) between the rep and one of the customer attendees. Two things I rarely discuss ever, and surely not at a business dinner. They carried a nice Pinot Noir from Oregon which had a very nice touch on the palate – quite good. But they have changed wine service since I last really indulged – not even a half a glass for a serving. Last I enjoyed a fine wine, it came in a nice big goblet, nearly full. Of course, that was in California, so there is that aspect to consider as well. What followed, despite my apprehension, was a really enjoyable evening. The food was well presented, although I found it lacked flavor. Considering the price point, it should have left a good impression. Instead, it was rather bland. I had Salmon en Pappillote, not a true pairing with a red, but I rarely drink whites any more, preferring the full-bodied flavor of the reds. Plus, I need all of the resveratrol I can find – heart health and all you know 🙂 So I relaxed and enjoyed myself immensely and came home with positive energy, although I had far too much coffee after dinner and found myself wound for sound when I arrived home later in the evening. That led to lots of goofing around online until the wee hours of the following morning, which was a work day. That didn’t bode well, but I made it through Thursday and came home with relaxation on the brain for sure.
As I relaxed last night, doing things that are favored past times (reading a magazine, perusing new perfume releases, listening to music) I realized that all of my trepidation regarding this customer visit and the attendant responsibilities were truly overrated inside of my own little brain. I recognize that the worries about work also wormed their way into my previous posting earlier in the week – kicking off the minor pity party about possibly being alone forever. Some days, I am my own worst enemy, who needs outside influences!?!
I also pieced together that a great deal of my internal turmoil has been related to the callous way I was handled earlier last year, and then brutally reminded about again in the beginning of this year. I finally have realized that the effort and time that I expended was never worth it, and that I was caught up in a carefully crafted illusion – like an elaborate fishing net. I won’t make that mistake again. Everyone online, even friends, will be fully vetted. Had I not been blindsided when I first appeared on that scene, I would have seen who that person really was – seen the lack of empathy, lack of heart, perhaps would have run far away, instead of running towards. It was a painful but timely lesson, one that has taken me almost a year to process. When I look back on my naivete, I am almost embarrassed. I gave of myself with honesty, intensity and truth. I can’t even identify what I was served up. Fiction? Cut and paste tried and true methodologies? What did he gain from it? Perhaps being the first – first to capture, first to discard. Kind of like the BAV notch on the old belt I suppose. He has to live with what he did and how he treated me – but for it to have impact, that would mean there was a humanizing element present. The handling of the matter points glaringly to the fact that there is a hole there in the psyche, in that place that treats others as people. Hence, there will be no impact and I suspect it will continue with others. I am thankful that I am me, and not him, despite the terrible pain and anguish that I suffered for months. I am thankful too, for the scales suddenly falling from my eyes and the steps I took towards the setting free of my spirit. But I will always remember the lesson.
Self-examination is always good, and something I can be quite brutal about. I want to know why things happen. I want to know what I contributed. I want to know my weaknesses just as much as my strengths. I believe I have fully assessed those things regardless of the other party’s lack of feedback. “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” I am more aware now. But enough. Past history.
Last night’s dog walk was gloriously beautiful. It was crisp and cool, what other climates would consider Fall weather. In the post-rain shower air, intense green could be detected as well as the scent of turned earth. There was a heavy cloud cover which kept our temps from dropping to the expected low 40’s and left us in the high 40’s overnight. Upon my return home for the night, early as it was, I sat on the porch with the new Philip Wesley album playing – “Dark Night of the Soul”. It is not a depressing album at all, and like Piano Opus, I thoroughly like every song on there. My particular favorites are “Light and Shadow”, “Racing Against the Sunset” and “Far and Away”. It really is an amazing and moving piece of work. Joseph Akins’ album “A Southern Sun” is also proving to be a beautiful and artful work that I enjoy listening to regularly. Music – such a key to my soul. Like words, music is so expressive; sometimes useful when words simply cannot express things.
The work week is finally done. I ticked off a couple of acquaintances because I declined an offer to go to happy hour and an offer to grab a bite to eat. They gave me grief. I really don’t care. They are extroverts and LOVE to go out, doing so several nights a week. Me? Pffft. One of them once said I was one of the most boring people they knew. I then asked “Then why do you continue to ask me to go do things?” That ended that discourse, haha! It is difficult to explain to people who truly enjoy going out regularly that others just don’t always feel that way, or even feel that way very often at all. It is difficult to explain to people who do not have a mentally and emotionally demanding job, that sometimes one is just done with people for the day. Got nothing else to give. Don’t want to listen to anyone else, particularly very self-absorbed people who blather on about themselves and not once say “So how are things with you?” In other words, people who feed off of me and give me nothing in return. I realized recently that I have a one or two of those in my life, and I’m cutting those ties. You see, boundaries have never been my strong suit. Identifying people who are either good or bad for me, also not one of my strengths. Through friendships that have given to me, I have learned to tell the difference, albeit sometimes slowly. But I am learning.
There will always be people that come in and out of your life. Some will require a lot of effort. Some won’t. Good friendships, reciprocal friendships, provide something back to you. Not always in the same measure, or at the same time. Kind of like most relationships. They are never 50/50. Sometimes one may go a long time giving, before someone gives back. Keeping score isn’t something that really happens for me, until I am unable to give more because the well has run dry. Usually before then, I will try to let the person know I need something from them, in a easily discerned way – nothing cryptic. If anything, I am at times overly blunt. I give a lot. As such, I expect a lot back I suppose. Each relationship is different. They ebb and flow, rise and fall. Good ones last a long time. May we all have such good ones!
And now, I’ll go find some music, light some candles and relax. My PTO is approved, so my vacation is now a reality. I have to go dress shopping this weekend for a dress for the wedding. I need to schedule an appointment to get my tag transferred and renewed as my birthday approaches rather quickly. I need to finish up the transfer on my insurance as well. This is the part of adulthood that I really don’t care for – paperwork. Still, it has to be done.
TGIF my readers! May your weekend be exactly what is best for you, whatever that looks like.